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Norrie strikes in third, Queens blank Broncos for ACAC gold


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Brent Forster – Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics

After a six year hiatus, the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens are back on top of Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Women’s Hockey. A third period goal from first-year forward Dylan Norrie turned out to be the game winner as the RDP Queens earned their fourth ACAC gold medal with a 1-0 win. The Queens swept the Olds College Broncos in the best-of-five final.

“We have been talking all season and we’ve worked so hard for this,” said first-year forward Norrie. “We wanted it to win it for each other. For me, I’m just so pumped that we got to win it for Cam Wallan and Mary Hirsch in their last season.”

Queens goaltender Tanya Disotell-Dunsmore and Broncos netminder Cienna Kinghorn were unbeatable over 45 minutes. The home team finally broke the stalemate at 14:12 of the third period. Norrie, who is from Olds, carried the puck into the Broncos’ zone, got Kinghorn moving to her left, and found space high on the blocker side.

“I remember going down the ice, then I saw that their d-man was right in front of me – we’ve mentioned all series that we had to shoot high on their goalie,” said Norrie, a Bachelor of Education Secondary student. “I used their d-man in front of me and whipped it top corner on her right side. I just had a feeling that I was going to score. We needed it.”

Wallan (21), Norrie (17), Skripichayko (6)

Norrie was named the North Star Sports Queens Player of the Game.

“I thought she had a very good game. We had a practice last week and we said that we had to work on shooting up top on Cienna,” said Kelly Coulter, Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Hockey Head Coach. “It was a great shot by Dylan and a great effort. Happy for her. She’s worked hard the past two weeks to make sure that she’s making an impact in the games.”

Broncos Head Coach Chris Leeming pulled Kinghorn for the extra skater with about two minutes remaining in the contest. Olds College made a strong push at the end. With the Broncos crashing the net and Disotell-Dunsmore seemingly out of the play, the Queens first-year netminder made a huge blocker save to keep the visitors off the scoreboard, sealing a 1-0 victory.

Disotell-Dunsmore (33)

“I think she has been fantastic, as have the other two goalies, Madison [Fox] and Izzy [Palumbo], as well,” added Coulter. “It’s just something that we’ve been blessed with this year, with outstanding goaltending and timely saves.”

Disotell-Dunsmore earned the 14 save shutout. The Queens’ ability to lockdown games became their trademark and a big reason for their success.

“It seems to to be our M.O. all year, and as a coach that’s something I preach anyway, so it seems the way it started and the way it finished for us,” said Coulter.

First-year defender Kiera Mulder (5)

Kinghorn turned aside 15-of-16.

The last time the Queens won ACAC gold was in the 2015/2016 season, Coulter’s first year as the head coach of the RDP Queens. That team was filled with veterans.

“That group that won in 2015/2016 was a group of fantastic players,” he said. “A lot of those players I inherited and had to create a relationship with.”

The 2021/2022 Queens are nearly the polar opposite with 18 first-years and five second-years on the roster.

“This group, I recruited every single one of them. It’s a little bit special that way, that the relationship has been forged with some of them for five years now – with Cam and four years with Mary,” said Coulter. “This first-year group worked really hard and to me, hard work equals success, and that’s what they did all year. It’s a great group.”

Reegan Broadbent received the top player award for the Broncos. The Queens went 0-for-2 on the power play. The Broncos couldn’t score on three opportunities.

The Olds College Broncos earned ACAC silver and the NAIT Ooks picked up bronze.

The RDP Queens will have another strong team next year with only veterans Wallan and Hirsch planning to graduate from the Queens Hockey program.

“The vast majority are back. We’ve only added five players to our squad,” added Coulter. “We should have the majority of them returning which is nice for the first time in my career here. It’s just adding those new girls in and continuing what we do.”

Jailyn Bablitz (8)

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The RDP Queens preparing for their first championship defense in program history

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After a historic season a year ago, the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Soccer team is ready to start their championship defense as the 2023/2024 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) season kicks off this weekend.

A year ago, they started the season off with a loss against the SAIT Trojans. But they didn’t know this was going to be the only loss of the ACAC season. They managed to win 11 in a row on their way to their first-ever championship banner in program history.

This incredible season also included a record-setting campaign for Sein Furuyama (Open Studies), who was last year’s ACAC South Player and Rookie of the Year recipient. She broke the individual record for most goals in a season with 29 goals and helped the Queens break the record for most goals by a team in one year as well with a total of 89.

Furuyama was also named to the South Division All-Conference alongside her teammates Estel and Sofia Quinteros (Practical Nurse Diploma).

But after losing some veteran players to graduation, Head Coach Mahziar Peyrow, who was last year’s ACAC South Division Coach of the Year, says the Queens will be looking a little bit different as they start their new season.

“This season is going to be tough for us as we had a lot of players graduate from the Polytechnic, so it will be a bit of a rebuilding year for us. But we will still be able to compete at the top level.” They still managed to keep some players from their gold medal-winning team.

Furuyama is preparing herself for her second year in the conference as she is coming off a knee injury and wants to impress the conference yet again.

Defense Kayla Yeo (Open Studies) is coming back for her fifth and final year. Yeo alongside Sofia Quinteros will co-captain the Queens this season with last year’s captain Alisha Coules graduating from the four-year Nursing program. Coules will step in as an assistant coach for the team this year.

Peyrow is very excited to have Quinteros back in the midfield as well as Yeo on the defensive line. “Sofia will remain as a key player in the defensive midfield to keep providing us with the quick transition into the attacking third. Kayla will step in the role of centre-back to strengthen our defense alongside our ever-so-powerful Kyra Remekie (Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences).”

He added the Queens will also be returning their two strikers, Paige Kalbfleisch (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) and Grace Smith (Bachelor of Business Administration). These two student-athletes bring a high level of skill on the ball and can attack dangerously with pace.

Alongside these multiple returnees will also be a couple of key additions to the team who were recruited by last year’s ACAC South Division Women’s Coach of the Year this past off-season, defense Payton Erick (Business Diploma) and midfield Rilyn Clement (Pre-Health Sciences). Peyrow believes Erick will be a strong force at the back that can also get up the pitch and impact the game on the offensive side and Clement has a high soccer IQ who has great vision in the midfield.

Putting all these pieces together, the Queens head coach is quite optimistic the team can compete at the same level they did a year ago.

“Obviously, we had a great season last year and it would be amazing to reenact that this campaign. I believe the ladies have it in them to execute a great season. The energy is high as these ladies want to impress. The players all know that they need to perform well as the bar has been raised for this program.”

The Queens season will start on the road this weekend as they head down to Lethbridge on Saturday to battle with the Kodiaks at 2 p.m. before traveling out to Medicine Hat to take on the Rattlers at noon on Sunday.

For more information on this historic year last year and the upcoming season visit:

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Cayden Nickel and Makayla Willows first ever CCRA champions from Red Deer Polytechnic

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RDP Royals Rodeo team excels at Canadian Collegiate Rodeo Association finals

Makayla Willows and Cayden Nickel of the Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP) Royals Rodeo team finished as the top competitors at the Canadian Collegiate Rodeo Association (CCRA) Finals May 19-21 in Brooks.

“Makayla and Cayden had an outstanding weekend,” says Trina Carroll, RDP Royals Program Lead. “They put in the work and were rewarded. I want to send a huge shoutout to all competitors and the CCRA Board of Directors, including Jamie Kuzma, who was our main contact at the CCRA.”

Buck Lake’s Willows earned the prestigious honour of 2023 CCRA Cowgirl of the Year by accumulating the most points among female competitors at the Silver Sage Community Corral over the weekend.

“I am thankful for the support from the RDP Royals Rodeo team, our wonderful coaches, and my family,” says Willows, who is graduating with an RDP Social Work Diploma in June. “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have been able to compete in the CCRA Finals. After working hard throughout the season, it was rewarding to complete my last year in College Rodeo as the Heeling Season Leader along with qualifying for the finals in Barrel Racing, Breakaway Roping and Pole Bending.”

As heeler in Team Roping, Willows consistently demonstrated her expertise in roping steers by their hind feet after the header – who was Nickel – roped the front of the steer.

“For being recognized as the High Point Cowgirl of the Year alongside my Team Roping partner Cayden, we were each awarded a beautiful saddle and buckle as Cowgirl and Cowboy of the Year,” adds Willows. “It is a very humbling honor and an amazing way to end my final College Rodeo experience.”

Nickel, who is from Evansburg, was named the CCRA Cowboy of the Year and CCRA Tie Down Roping Champion. He just completed his first year of a Bachelor of Kinesiology and Sport Studies Degree at RDP.

“It was such an awesome experience,” says Nickel about competing in the CCRA Finals. “We had a lot of fun and I can’t wait for next year.”

In addition to Willows and Nickel placing first overall in the CCRA, they made Red Deer Polytechnic history.

“In 10 years of competing in the CCRA Finals, this is the first time that RDP students have achieved the High Point Award in both the Cowboy and Cowgirl categories,” explains Carroll. “We are so proud of Makayla and Cayden.”

The next CCRA season will begin in Fall 2023.

About Red Deer Polytechnic Royals Rodeo: RDP Royals Rodeo is an elite post-secondary sports program that provides opportunities for students to compete outside of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC), of which the RDP Kings and Queens are members. Since its establishment in 2013, the RDP Royals Rodeo program has grown from three student-athletes up to 40 members. The Red Deer Polytechnic Rodeo team has consistently been competitive in the CCRA, qualifying for the finals every year over the past decade. The 2022/2023 RDP Royals Rodeo team consisted of 12 dedicated student-athletes.

For more information about RDP Royals Rodeo, please visit: facebook | instagram

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